Energy conference cancelled after College concerns

Publication date: 16 January 2020

The College has announced today that an oil and gas conference due to take place at its headquarters has been cancelled

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We deeply regret that a booking was accepted to host an event at our headquarters that conflicts with the College'slongstanding commitment to combat the impact of climate change on the environment and on the health of our patients.

"The conference in question was clearly not a College event, but it would have compromised our integrity as the first medical Royal College to divest from fossil fuel companies. We are extremely conscious of the irreversible damage being caused by gas, electricity and oil companies in their exploitation of energy reserves, and the direct link this has on greenhouse gas emissions.

"Our building at 30 Euston Square also operates as an external conference venue, contracted by us to a third party event management company. Whilst there is guidance about who can use the College premises, it did not explicitly exclude fossil fuel companies. This was an oversight on our part and we apologise to our members and thank them for their patience while we worked through a number of complicated issues, including the legal implications of our action.

"We are already in the process of reviewing the contractual agreement in place and the policies we have with the event management company. We are also reviewing our College sponsorship policy and will ensure that any third party activity is aligned with this to guard against a similar situation ever happening again in future."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7494/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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